Monday, February 17, 2014

Alpha Mail: "Put off career" says female PhD

A woman who is more accomplished academically in a much more intellectually challenging field than nearly any feminist you will ever meet speaks against the feminist fetish of career aspirations. She writes in response to a quote from yesterday's post:
"The idea that women are too focused on being intellectual, or shouldn't have career aspirations that would allow them to earn more than their (potential) husbands is absurd and patently offensive."

She's wrong. It's not absurd or offensive, it's straight-up truth. And it's not even so much about the money (although, for the health of a marriage I do believe the husband should be the breadwinner), but about sacrificing career aspirations to do the single most important thing a woman can do, which is to get married and raise a family.

I am a highly intellectual woman with a successful professional career, and I realize now what a mistake I've made by not settling down and having children early. I married 12 years ago, but put off having children in order to finish graduate school and establish my scientific career. Last December, at the age of 42, I had a baby daughter. I realize now that this would've been MUCH easier 10 or 20 years ago. It's not only a struggle to care for a newborn at my age, but making the sudden shift from a woman who has, for decades, been very busy with intellectual pursuits and relatively unencumbered by responsibility to a stay-at-home mom has been unexpectedly difficult.

My own dear departed mother got married at 19 and had me and my brother at 21 and 22 years of age. I look at old photos of her with us as babies, and she looks deliriously happy. She LOVED being a mother. She had that crazy young-person energy you need to raise babies and no established adult life that she felt like she was losing in order to become a mother. Later, when my brother and I were older, she went back to university to finish her degree and enjoyed many happy years as a teacher.

I regret putting off children for so long. I wish I had put off my graduate education and career in order to have had more healthy children. (My first daughter had a fatal chromosomal abnormality and was stillborn. The risk for such problems increases sharply with maternal age -- another reason to start having children young.) The one thing I did right was to learn to cook and keep house, the love and skill of which I learned from my mother at a young age. But motherhood has not come easy at 40+. For that reason, I will tell every girl I know (including my daughter) to not make the same mistake I did. Put off the career. Learn to cook and keep house, find a good man and get married young, and start having babies as soon as possible.
So, who are you going to listen to, young women? Who do you think knows what she's talking about, the woman with both the PhD and the child or the crazy cat ladies with neither physics degrees nor children?

46 comments:

kh123 said...

Am sure I'm not alone when I say you're missed over at VP, Mrs. Mom. Hope all is well.

Tobias Templo said...

So, who are you going to listen to, young women? Who do you think knows what she's talking about, the woman with both the PhD and the child or the crazy cat ladies with neither physics degrees nor children?

The crazy cat ladies with neither physics degrees nor children. Coz stupid and feelings.

Nate said...

For the record... DrWho would tell you exactly the same thing as Stickwick. The only real difference is... we never postponed having kids. We were looking to have kids in our 20s while she was still in medical school.

cailcorishev said...

Two ideas have been coming together for me lately:

1) Women are very childlike in some of their thinking processes. Even adult, responsible, sensible women can be very flighty in the way their minds approach certain things.

2) Children have a very limited conception of time. A kid can say something "always happens" and when you investigate you find out that means it happened twice three years ago. Everything they remember from the past might as well have happened yesterday, and they have little ability to differentiate between different lengths of time into the future. "Next month" = "never."

So, put those two things together, and you see the problem: bad future time orientation. I don't think it afflicts all women, and it certainly afflicts some men, but I think women have more trouble with it in general. I don't think many of them ever actually think in terms of a fixed timeline from 20-40 and how much of that time each of their fantasies will take up. In fact, as some of the commenters on that previous article said, it's offensive to be told that they should think in such static terms. They're supposed to just "experience life as it comes." Making long-term plans works against that, so they're actually opposed to the concept. The future is just a vague, endless stretch in front of a young woman. So when someone says, "You might run out of time to have kids later," she just thinks, "Nah, I'll have plenty of time; that'll take care of itself when the time is right."

brian said...

Cail - it's this blind belief that the future will somehow magically tend to itself that seems to be a common thread.

What I've been thinking a lot lately is that this all seems to tie in to the rise of narcissism. The advances of leftist ideology are all born of narcissism: they believe that the only reason socialism hasn't worked yet is because THEY weren't in charge. Gender feminism is based largely on the conceit that women are somehow superior to men in every measure. Even the things they rally against (like guns for example) they are driven by narcissism: they know that their first reaction to a public disagreement would be to shoot their interlocutor, so therefore nobody should have guns.

SarahsDaughter said...

It's difficult to help 20 year old women through the "is this all it is?" time of infants, I can only imagine what it's like for an accomplished career woman to switch gears. With baby number one it's usually not so bad a transition, mom takes baby everywhere she goes and if she's real young, her lifestyle isn't much different than summer vacation. Clean the house, do the laundry, take care of baby, make some food, stay hot for your honey. Baby number two brings out the coveting of "something more." It's not as easy to take the babies everywhere you go, they're on different nap schedules, life is a bit more hectic around the home but life hasn't changed much for her husband (which is to say, he's still doing everything he had been doing to provide while she had what seemed as complicated as summer vacation with a babysitting job - but rarely does she contemplate that before complaining).

What is taken for granted most is that babies become teenagers. This is when it is evident the more time they had with their parents growing up the less complicated being a teenager is. Because life is less complicated, mom now has more time for intellectual pursuits should she so choose and having invested the last 20 years into the lives of her children, she also has some fantastic relationships with her adult children.

So good to hear from you Stickwick! Thank you for sharing your experiences with such humble honesty. Congratulations to your family!

Some dude said...

So, who are you going to listen to, young women? Who do you think knows what she's talking about, the woman with both the PhD and the child or the crazy cat ladies with neither physics degrees nor children?

LOL, do you reallllly want to know the answer to that one?

Amy G said...

Congrats on your baby girl, Stickwick! Had my son in November and as a 31 year old, I also reflected how much easier labor and the early newborn stages would have been in my early 20's - back when my body could take anything I threw at it and I could survive for 3 days on 4 hours of sleep. Almost like we were designed to have babies at a young age or something?

Iowahine said...

Great to hear from Stickwick and congrats on the baby! Always good to get your take on things.

It is a tough transition. I made it at 32 (and had to go back to work at first), but as our child aged to his teen years, I recall thinking, "Lord, this takes more energy than I seem to have," and after having tried for years to have more children, accepted that while I would have gratefully taken any more children the Lord might give, I was low on the energy required for babies (not to mention that required for parenting teens in my 50s/60s).

Between my husband's and my family of origin, we have 19 nieces/nephews. Nine of 12 nephews found their wives in their early 20s, married, and began families. Not one of our 7 nieces married young or stayed married. Of the 4 nieces who married, 1 ex-husband initiated the divorce (he wanted his wife to accept his mistress; my niece wouldn't). Of the 3-female initiated divorces, two were because the husbands were alcoholic/addicts who didn't work and the third claimed the man with whom she had lived for 7 years prior to marriage was verbally abusive (at 37, she remarried an older man who has grown children & she says she will never have children). All my nephews' wives transitioned from working to being SAHMs and embrace it.

As I watch my young nephews and their wives parent with such intensity and joy, I marvel and wonder - how did I ever do it? (and confess to myself, I did not do it with the vigor they do). It's inspirational to see these young men and their wives being smart and starting young.

Continued best wishes with your family, Stickwick. It's always good to hear from you.

Trust said...

This woman, unfortunately, is a rarity among what should be the wiser class of women.

Older men typically will warn younger men of their mistakes. Older women will typically encourage younger women to make the same mistakes as an ex post factor rationalization that they really didn't screw up. (Of course, older men's advice is often not applicable since they advise based on their experience with marriage 1.0, but that is another topic.)

Stickwick Stapers said...

Thanks, all, for the well wishes. God has blessed us with a daughter who is healthy, sweet, and beautiful.

Trust is correct about most women rationalizing mistakes, which is one reason I was so blindsided by this experience -- it's only after I've expressed to other women how difficult it's been that they've admitted they, too, found motherhood late in life rather difficult. Or found motherhood at any age difficult. I just assumed it would come naturally; I think that's been the big deception of modern society, that motherhood comes naturally to most women. From what I can tell, you really have to work at it. Anyway, this experience has been sufficiently painful that I want to help as many young women as possible avoid it.

Jack Amok said...

She had that crazy young-person energy you need to raise babies and no established adult life that she felt like she was losing in order to become a mother. Later, when my brother and I were older, she went back to university to finish her degree and enjoyed many happy years as a teacher.

It woudl be interesting to ask a bunch of 35 year old women with college degrees "If you could go back in time and give your 19 year old self advice, would you choose the same major?"

Not even bringing children and marriage into the equation, just the ability to postpone making a decision on what $50,000 credential you were going to get until you've had some experience in the world would be a very good thing. Now add that the quality of husband a woman can attract in her early 20's is better than what she can get in her early 30's, and that both giving birth and chasing toddlers around is physically easier in her 20's than her 30's... Seems like a pretty easy decision. Get married and have kids when you're young and full of energy, pick a career when you're older and wiser.

But alas, who is a 19 year old girl going to listen to? Who's telling her what she wants to hear?

Marissa said...

It's also interesting how these women (like the one's in the previous post) exaggerate how having a child is a huge decision and no one should possibly make that decision at such a young age...while these are the same people denigrating SAHMs for having an easy job that the most base animals can do (like the Amy Glass character who finds motherhood unimpressive). Which is it?

Vox said...

Anyway, this experience has been sufficiently painful that I want to help as many young women as possible avoid i

There is your next book....

Laguna Beach Fogey said...

Sound advice.

Res Ipsa said...

@ Stickwick,

Mrs Ipsa gave birth to our first 3 days before her 41st birthday. We didn't intentionally delay having children, it just worked out that way. We now have 2 children and life couldn't be better. It's not too late to enjoy having kids. In some ways it may be easier to enjoy being a parent. While the window of opportunity is closing for you, you still may have time to have a couple more children. Have at it! You will never regret being a mom.

Congratulations on doing the only thing in life that only you can do, be your children's mom.

Eric Wilson said...

OT: Run, hamster, run

David said...

Just last week someone intimated that my wife and I were (much too) young to get married right out of college (aged 21 & 22) and begin having kids at 24. Such attitudes are driven by a culture that expresses herding behavior celebrating career over family at every turn.

I'm no genius, yet even I can discern without much difficulty what makes people (men AND women) generally happy. It is decidedly NOT resume-building, leasing the Big Cars & McMansions and serially doing the lust-marriage-battles-divorce dramas so many people find sporting.

Women, as the more social sex, are clearly far more drawn into herding behavior than are men (although there are observable differences between individuals of each sex). This means that fads seize women far more than men, and the current fads of denigrating what makes women unique (and, for that matter what makes men unique) are more pervasive with the girls.

As is always the case, discerning when the trend is salutary vs pathological is very important. Determining what is truly important for oneself, rather than absorbing it from the sea in which we swim, helps us avoid gulping in whatever sewage our fellow (wo)men disgorge.

Properly understood, when our self-interest in enlightened by recognition of the richness our spouses and children bring to our lives it is easy to see how serving their interests with honor and love bathes us in the happiness life offers. This isn't rocket science, but in today's narcissistic, high-time-preference society, it doesn't pass for common sense.

PS: Happily married for 31 years, hoping for another 50, with three adult sons all married or engaged to nice young ladies with the oldest (married) having a baby girl last November.

David said...
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David said...

Women now going to college, adopting the herding behavior of "follow your dreams, pay for them on credit" are now graduating with huge piles of debt, which amounts to a reverse-dowry for any young man who consents to marry them.

As far as I can see, those girls better really bring a lot to the table (sweet disposition most of all) because the pool of young men with earnings necessary to retire those debt piles while living independently and starting on kids is small indeed. After all, young male engineers and computer scientists can "do the math," even if the 18-22 year old ladies couldn't.

All others are going to be so deep in debt that household formation, much less bearing children, will be put off until biology renders the question moot.

Sadly, Stickwick's advice will fall on those whose prior (mistaken) choices render them deaf to or unable to heed it. Life decisions of such import are made at 16-18 now, and only kids whose parents have a clue (few indeed) get the guidance they need to avoid today's pervasive traps.

Tommy Hass said...

"So, who are you going to listen to, young women? Who do you think knows what she's talking about, the woman with both the PhD and the child or the crazy cat ladies with neither physics degrees nor children?"

If this was a line of code, we'd call this "elegant".

Although I am suprised how retarded journalists writing for Slate are considered "career girls" in the first place. If they died, literally nothing of value would be lost. A truck driver is more valuable to his peers than those cunts.

Beau said...

The flip side of the coin is children gained in old age are far more greatly appreciated in the moment. I'm old enough to be my youngest's grandfather - by several years. He is delightful, as are all his older siblings. The only difference realized now is time is fleeting, so enjoy every moment they remain under your roof. They'll soon be gone.

Congratulations Stickwick. What a gift you've been given, enjoy!

Natalie said...

The other reason is that you really don't know how long you'll have to wait. I got married the summer I graduated college, and we immediately started waiting for the kids to show up. And waited. And waited. My son was born when I was 29. This is still "early" for some people. But we waited seven years for our son. Seven. And I'll admit that part of the problem was that with my husband's career changing rapidly and us moving around the country there wasn't a great time early on for us to get serious about why this wasn't happening. We finally poked at things for a couple years before it all fell into place. Did it really end up being an easy fix, or was it just God's timing? I don't know, but I do know that for some reason I ended up waiting through my (statistically) most fertile period and am now wondering what will happen in the future. I know a large family is still possible, but my experience has left me much more humble about presuming on my fertility. You simply never know. However, if I'd put off marriage for another 4-5 years, and then put off kids for another 3-4 years so I could focus on my career and then so my husband and I could "get to know each other" I'd be in a much worse scenario. These women are acting like fertility is just one straight shot to the moon when there are people who get married young and just end up sitting on the tarmac for years. You need that runway.

Iowahine said...

Although I am suprised how retarded journalists writing for Slate are considered "career girls" in the first place. If they died, literally nothing of value would be lost. A truck driver is more valuable to his peers than those cunts.

Elegant, Tommy, and amen.

Iowahine said...

Actually, it can be more elegant: A truck driver is more valuable than those cunts.

David said...

"These women are acting like fertility is just one straight shot to the moon when there are people who get married young and just end up sitting on the tarmac for years."

Biology is fickle. 15-year-old girls seemingly can get pregnant just by sitting in a chair recently vacated by a boy. Some early-20's adults produce a baby immediately upon trying and smugly expect to do so again...but Ms. Nature has a wicked sense of humor and miscarriages are far more common that most people realize. Perhaps 50-70% of fertilized eggs do not implant, and the woman is none the wiser of her brief brush with pregnancy.

Producing a baby confounds a people used to having everything delivered to their door via next-day-air.

Clement said...

"the single most important thing a woman can do, which is to get married and raise a family."

I'm sorry you have such a low opinion of your own worth, and that of women in general. Raising a family is important to some, but not all people. It is absolutely not the most important thing a woman can do.

Bob said...

Go on then, what is

subject by design said...

@clement - if ones world consists solely of oneself, that "importance" would refer only to how important any one thing was to that particular person. But things have importance to society, or even to all eternity. Other than marrying or having children, nothing that a woman does is of importance to any one other than that woman. In other words, it isn't important.

Clement said...
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Clement said...

@Bob: It's not up to me, or you, or the author of this article to decide that for all women.

@subject by design: So according to you, no woman has ever contributed anything to society except by having children? I'm not sure whether I'm more astonished or appalled.

Res Ipsa said...

It is absolutely not the most important thing a woman can do.

It is absolutely the only thing that continues the species.

If all the smart girls go off to college and waste their collective reproductive window, that only leaves the dumb girls for breeding. What is more important, passing on the good genes or another wymyns studies major?

Marissa said...

Clement, I think you meant to say, "Wow. Just wow." That adds just as much to the discussion as your inane blathering.

Bob said...

absolutely not the most important thing a woman can do.

That was a separate statement. It may be of less importance to some women then others, but still.

So again, what is more important that a woman (any woman) can do. More important than continuing the species with good genes, and raising good, healthy human beings for the future of everything. You made a claim, please elaborate

haus frau said...

In terms of contributions to society, yes Clement, reproduction is the single most important thing an individual can accomplish. vanishingly few of us will do anything that will be remembered in 200 years. However the generations we produce will go on accomplishing things and contributing to society while the contributions of the childless CEO will end with her lifetime.

haus frau said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JCclimber said...

Well, I'm still waiting to hear of a woman's contribution that would have set back society if she had died young, beyond being a great mother. Or being a lousy mother.

People like to trot out Madame Curie. As if her contribution changed history or something.

Vox said...

Raising a family is important to some, but not all people. It is absolutely not the most important thing a woman can do.

You're wrong. In fact, if history is any guide, it is pretty much the only important thing a woman can reasonably expect to be able to accomplish. I mean, when being Caesar's fucktoy sufficed to put a woman in the top 20 or so of historical female fame, let's face it, perpetrating the species looks pretty important by comparison.

Bob said...

I'm just still lolling at the "absolutely not", then when pressed: "well, that's not for us to decide"...

So typical

Conscientia Republicae said...

I am fixated on Clement's claim that having children is only done by people don't value themselves much.

Dexter said...

I'm sorry you have such a low opinion of your own worth, and that of women in general. Raising a family is important to some, but not all people. It is absolutely not the most important thing a woman can do.

I know lots of childless women. Don't know a single one that has done anything more important than having children. Some of them, at least, are honest enough to admit it.

Dexter said...

I am fixated on Clement's claim that having children is only done by people don't value themselves much.

Yeah and apparently his conclusion is that this should continue, because people who value themselves highly are too valuable to reproduce or something.

Whiskey said...

If you peruse women's literature through the ages, and a lot of it has been written, almost universally, to a woman, they obsess over: finding the right man to reproduce with; raising their children wisely; finding good matches for their children. This is what women value, universally. It would be passing odd if they did not.

But sure, put your religious beliefs about an earth-centered Universe on display. Perhaps it will convert the unconvinced.

redpillsetmefree said...

So.......have we determined what a woman can do that's more important than having a child....?

Berlin said...

there is no way she would have had a successful career in science if she had to care for young children at the same time. all women in higher education i know who have had children, basically, before getting tenure either don't have tenure or, if they do, they have tenure at an institution inferior to the caliber of institution they would have been capable of tenuring at had they not had kids.

does that mean that all women should wait until they top up their retirement fund before having kids? no. all this particular woman did was choose wrongly at a young age, and now she is bitter about her choices. some women choose wrongly to have children young, and are bitter about their choices too.

my own mother had me in her thirties, and until i was about fifteen, she kept up the argument that a woman needs to be fiercely independent, have her own career - now, she sees her friends, who've had children 10 years before her, retiring to their country homes, supported by their husbands, and indulging in their grandkids, and she feels left out, and keeps harping on me to get married and give her grandkids. and it's like, mom, it's not that simple. the fact is, we never know how life will play out - often we do not know our own choices, our own happiness. it's very easy for a person to be derisive towards younger people because they are speaking in hindsight - no shit, mrs. high-flying phd, had i known where the ball was gonna fall, i wouldn't have missed it for worlds. i'm not even so worried about my own happiness as my children's, because i know that if i have my own career, my own contacts, my own money, i will be able to provide them with the opportunities that i think they deserve. i will be able to ensure their health, send them to college even if their father bails out or dies or decides it's not worth the trouble. for the first time in human history, women who are not independently rich are able to provide for their offspring. that isn't an advantage i'm willing to sacrifice because i want to look happy in my photos. my own father decided that i wasn't good enough for college, and i am infinitely grateful to my working mother for having made the choice at 18 that she was going to have her own competitive salary. it's been hard going, and not everything has turned out our way, but that is not an argument that would convince me to lower my baseline to that of a middle-class unemployed housewife.

Clement said...

Step one: Assume that having children is of infinite value.
Step two: Assume that all other pursuits have zero value.
Step three: Assume that the prior two assumptions do not apply to men, for some reason...?
Step four: Having assumed the conclusion that women cannot ever do anything more important than having children, the conclusion that women cannot ever do anything more important than having children is now proven.

It's like logic!

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